The government targets to construct more than 11,000 kilometres of tarmac roads by mid next year. This is after surpassing what it promised nine years ago, which was to build 10,000 kilometres of road.
The Jubilee administration has done much better in road construction than in all its other infrastructure projects, building 10,500km of tarmac roads since 2013.
Once completed before the end of Jubilee’s second five-year term, it will have nearly doubled the 14,000km of tarmac roads that were in existence when it came to power. The road projects in the main towns and across the country are part of the implementation of what was dubbed a ‘21st-Century transport and infrastructure system’. They include various modern bypasses in Nairobi, the other cities and also towns.
The 27km Nairobi Expressway is set to be the most iconic of all, running on top of Mombasa Road. It will give the city a smart look, easing congestion and enhancing the capital’s beauty.
However, the leadership has often been faulted for its failure to fulfil some of its election campaign promises, especially the building of world-class stadiums across the country.
The roads are a huge investment that must be jealously guarded. As far as roads are concerned, the biggest challenge is poor maintenance or lack of it. Quality and durability are twin goals that must be prioritised.
There is a need to promote a maintenance culture. It is a shame that some of the roads that were built recently are already falling apart. Potholes need to be patched up as soon as they appear instead of letting roads deteriorate and be built afresh at higher cost.
This raises some pertinent questions: Are the potholes, even on some key highways, an indication of shoddy construction? Is supervision done during construction and before the handing over of these projects? Could setting up a special highways maintenance monitoring unit be part of the solution?
These infrastructure projects must be protected.